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Cats Dunked by Arkansas, Fall in Overtime Heartstopper

This article appears courtesy of KY Forward whose coverage of UK Athletics is sponsored by Republic Bank.

No. 13 Kentucky held its foot to the pedal Tuesday alongside the blazing-fast Arkansas Razorbacks, and they hung around for 44 minutes, 59 seconds and some change. But with 0.2 left in overtime, Arkansas’ Michael Qualls threw down a thunderous put-back dunk to give the Razorbacks an 87-85 win.

James Young had tied the game on a 3-pointer with 9.8 seconds left after an acrobatic, improbable offensive rebound by Alex Poythress funneled the ball back to Young. It was somehow the second-most impressive offensive rebound of the game’s final 10 seconds.

With 9.5 seconds left in regulation and the shot clock winding down, Alandise Harris drove to the basket with one man in his way: Willie Cauley-Stein. One of the best shot blockers in the country, Cauley-Stein instead opted to try to take a charge. Harris made the layup as he bowled over Cauley-Stein, and Cauley-Stein was called for a foul. Harris made the foul shot. Cauley-Stein only had one block Tuesday.

John Calipari did not call a timeout. James Young held the ball behind the 3-point line, and Andrew Harrison’s defender left him. Young found Harrison open, and Harrison’s shot from the right side was good to tie the game at 74-74 with 1.2 seconds left to send the game to overtime. Harrison was 0-of-7 from the floor before hitting the game-extending three.

Julius Randle was the one who pushed the Wildcats through to the finish line. He had six points and two fouls in the first half, but he willed his way—as he is often wont to do—in the second half to finish with 20 points and 14 rebounds. He was 10-of-14 from the free-throw line after only shooting two foul shots in the first half (he made both).

In overtime, Arkansas took a three-point lead at 81-78 on a Bobby Portis free throw (he was 1-for-2 on the trip), and the two teams went back and forth on the next handful of possessions trading two points for two points.

With 26.7 seconds left, Kentucky to the ball down 85-82 and no shot clock. Young finally broke the streak of trading twos. But less than 10 seconds later, Rashad Madden’s missed three set up the game-winning dunk.

KyForward.com did not travel to Fayetteville, Ark., to cover this game. This report was compiled from television coverage.

Photo: Julius Randle/KY Forward file by James Pennington